Once in a while you come accross a very special project, one of those that makes you tick, pause & think. That’s what WEHVE does to me.
WEHVE is a project by Gesine Holschuh, who found a way to knit an amazing social enterprise. The WEHVE collections are a set of hand-woven & knitted pieces made with the highest quality Uruguayan wool. The crafters are some 250 Uruguayan women living in rural areas across the country, putting together their ancestral knowhow to yield fabulous scarves, ponchos, blankets, shawls… Thanks to this project, they can work from their home villages and better resist the rural exodus push that strikes so many Uruguayans. WEHVE operates according to the principles of the World Fair Trade Organisation.
The project speaks loudly to me for so many reasons. One is that I had thought of the same concept of collective of “tejedoras” (knitters) back when I was in University and was assigned to think of a business concept intertwined with ethical fashion. Gesine and I must be connected in some weird telepathical level. Another reason is that I love how she loves my home country… it reaches to my patriot chord. And what really strikes me is…what were the odds of such an amazing woman falling in love with Uruguay upon a fortuitous trip over 10 years back? What were the chances she would decide to use her commitment to social entrepreneurship and her experience in global strategy to set up WEHVE and connect all these rural women to the European market? What was the probability, seriously, that she would know my family in Uruguay, and I would find out about it through a casual lunch in Brussels? Serendipity at its best.
Third reason? Well, it’s just so beautiful… The designer behind the collections is Marine Halna du Fretay, who has worked with Hermès for over 20 years. The style that she chose honours the materials brilliantly and the pieces are clean, uncluttered and so contemporary. When I look at the collection, it makes me want to wrap myself in a big blanket or poncho and cocoon on a couch all day long in front of an open fire. Such a perfect tribute to the merino wool and the hands who crafted the delicate threads.
Now that winter is upon us and we need warmth and comfort, blankets and shawls become our new best friends… so I suggest you give WEHVE a look now! Their online shop is coming up soon. In the meantime, here’s a list of stores that sell the WEHVE collections in Belgium. For other countries, check the website here.